by Kate Childs Graham | August 29, 2012
Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren
Last night, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey took the podium at the Republican National Convention for a keynote speech that invoked the Greatest Generation, noting their courage and tenacity as they endured the Great Depression. In the process, he took swings at unions and public service workers – the very members of the Greatest Generation who helped build the middle class in America.
Elizabeth Warren, Senate candidate from Massachusetts, called the governor out:
“Coming out of the Great Depression, America was at a crossroads. The future of our economy — and our democracy — was at stake.
We made a decision together as a country: to invest in ourselves, in our kids, and in our future. For nearly half a century, that’s just what we did.
And it worked. For nearly 50 years, as our country got richer, our families got richer — and as our families got richer, our country got richer.
And then about 30 years ago, our country moved in a different direction. New leadership attacked wages. They attacked pensions. They attacked health care. They attacked unions. And now we find ourselves in a very different world from the one our parents and grandparents built. We are now in a world in which the rich skim more off the top in taxes and special deals, and they leave less and less for our schools, for roads and bridges, for medical and scientific research — less to build a future.”
For more on the decline of the middle class as it directly relates to attacks on unions and public workers, check out The Main Street Moment: Fighting Back to Save the American Dream, a recently released book from AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders and former Pres. Gerald W. McEntee. In it, they examine the role of unions in strengthening the middle class and chronicle how Americans are rising up against the crony capitalists trying to undo a century of hard-won victories for working families.